BT delays leave couple without vital lifeline

By Laura Payne Thursday 30 August 2012 Updated: 04/09 10:08

Anne and Roy were left without a phone for nearly three weeks. (s)

A STRING of broken promises left a vulnerable elderly couple without a phone line for nearly three weeks.

BT said they would fix the problem within three days after it was first reported by the couple's daughter Kate O'Leary on August 6.

The phone is an essential lifeline for Mrs O'Leary's parents Anne and Roy from Solihull, who are both in their 80s and have serious health problems, as they rely on it when their live in housekeeper is not there.

The line was eventually restored last Friday (August 24) the day after the Observer contacted BT to ask about the fault.

It followed numerous calls from Mrs O'Leary during which she was told the phone would be working by August 9, then the 17th and then the 22nd.

But each time the deadline passed and the phone remained out of use.

Mrs O'Leary said the danger of her parents being without a phone was highlighted when her father was taken ill on August 10, the day after the phone should have been working.

She said: "My father was rushed into hospital on the Friday morning.

"We were lucky the housekeeper was in the house with her mobile or he might have died, but still the phone wasn’t fixed."

And when Mrs O'Leary was promised the phone would be mended by August 22 she was also informed there was no record of her previous calls.

She told the Observer: "Frankly I'm not impressed by BT's response. Obviously these things happen but BT has shown a complete lack of concern for its customers, particularly the elderly and vulnerable.

"Why has no-one visited to apologise and explain and assess which customers are priority cases?

"Surely everyone affected should have been provided with a prepaid mobile phone at BT's expense."

Mrs O'Leary said she was unhappy several phones had been restored in the area but her parents' line had not, despite her calls.

A spokeswoman for BT said the problem with the line was linked to a major fault in the area which required several stages of repair.

"I would like to apologise for any inconvenience and distress caused. Engineers were working to complete repairs as quickly as possible," she added.

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